Climate change: 167 million homes could be wiped out by 2040, warns charity

·3-min read

The world could lose 8.4 million homes a year between now and 2040, if extreme weather events continue to increase at current rates, new analysis has warned.

That would total 167 million homes, which is the equivalent of every home in the UK being wiped out six times over, according to new data published by disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

It estimates that during the three days of this week's G7 summit in Cornwall, 69,000 homes could be lost to extreme weather globally, which would be the same as a quarter of all families in Cornwall being forced to flee.

ShelterBox's chief executive, Sanj Srikanthan, said for many people the issue "feels like too big a problem to take in, or know how to tackle.

"There's also the feeling that climate change isn't putting our own homes at risk right now," he told Sky News.

But he said that climate change was increasing the severity of extreme weather worldwide, and we'd be "wrong to think the UK will be shielded from that."

According to government figures, five million UK properties are at risk from floods from the river or sea. The Met Office has warned that extended periods of extreme winter rainfall are now seven times more likely, due to human-induced climate change.

And the flooding that followed storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in the winter of 2015/16 alone was estimated to have cost £1.6 billion.

ShelterBox, which has headquarters in Cornwall, hopes the research will draw attention to the fact that losing homes is a major, human, impact of the climate crisis - whereas many tend to think of animals and the natural world first.

Professor Andrew Collins at Northumbria University, who helped draw up the data, said it should "be taken extremely seriously now rather than any later", since the estimates of the loss of homes is based on extrapolation from real data already accumulated.

"As the current state of climatic impacts already reveals, and as experienced by billions of people all over the world through the current pandemic, to ignore the warnings in the data complete with its uncertainties is to walk ill-prepared into catastrophic loss and damage," he said.

Mr Srikanthan said that in the short term, people needed emergency shelter and tools to rebuild their lives. But beyond that, the solutions required action on many fronts, to help helping countries and communities prepare for "extreme weather hazards, to prevent them from becoming disasters".

ShelterBox is calling on G7 leaders to commit to providing emergency shelter, support disaster-resilient housing and sustainable livelihoods and ensure equitable vaccine access.

Every day at 6.30pm, Sky News broadcasts the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

Hosted by Anna Jones, The Daily Climate Show is following Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show will also highlight solutions to the crisis and show how small changes can make a big difference.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting